Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Village Table (Deep Cove)

This weekend I was staying with friends who live in North Vancouver. I know my friends know me well when we wake up in the morning and they gleefully announce, “We want to take you for breakfast to a new place you’ve never been before!” Surely, this my favourite Sunday morning activity.

As soon as we rubbed the sleep from our eyes, we scooted over to this charming casual spot located in the Dollarton Village Mall, just outside of Deep Cove. A small 24-seater thoughtfully decorated with reclaimed wood tables and a simple sign encouraging, “Eat Together”. This signifies their community-driven philosophy of serving quality ingredients prepared well. My Chorizo Omelette and toast with housemade organic strawberry preserves was exactly that.

Thanks for the special treat, my friends!

437 North Dollarton Highway
Breakfast hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m, Daily

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Heirloom Vegetarian Restaurant

Last week I was at a vegan restaurant; this week, vegetarian. No, this is not part of some New Year resolution to eat more veggies – it just worked out this way. Today, I was meeting up with a friend who I hadn’t seen for a while, so I knew we’d be in for a chatfest. I wanted a place that would be comfy, where we wouldn’t feel rushed, and because she is vegetarian, I hoped Heirloom would be ideal. Even though we arrived at 2:00 p.m., it was still mad full with a wait list.

Finally settled into our table 15 minutes later, I had an opportunity to appreciate the atmosphere. They’ve completely transformed the space from its previous incarnation. I smiled inwardly, though, when I saw they had left a nod to its previous life as a Mexican restaurant on the front door – a small painted sign waving, “Bienvenidos!” It felt respectful. Pictures don’t do justice to its ambiance now. It is a light (tall South-facing windows, everything painted white), airy (super-high ceilings), and attractive (modern rustic - again!) room. They’ve achieved the tricky blend of creating a space that feels inclusive – I felt a part of a happening – yet still intimate and personal. I believe this accomplishment is what contributes to the big draw of customers. That and that there are relatively few, albeit a growing number, of vegetarian-focused dining establishments.

The menu contains several different veggie combinations in benny and omelette forms. There was a bit of a wait for our meal, but we were so busy talking we didn’t even notice until our server apologized for the delay. When it appeared, I did enjoy my Red Pepper and Swiss Chard Benny, and my friend her Mushroom and Leek Benny. Side note: the potatoes are “extra”. I say, just throw them in already! Who doesn’t want fried potatoes? After the food was long gone, we continued to gab. Eventually the sun passed by and the room started to darken. Realizing they were prepping for dinner service, we decided it was time to go.

1509 West 12th Avenue
Brunch hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Daily

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


One of my dear friends and her hubby just bought their first house, making the leap from their rooftop Yaletown condo to the grassy plains of East Van. I thought it would be a fun introduction to her new ’hood for us to visit Graze.

Neither of us is vegan, but both appreciate good food whatever form it takes. If asked before brunch, I would have told you that we wouldn’t consider ourselves to be picky eaters. But ordering felt like we were participating in some sketch comedy about two stereotypical, fanatical vegans. My friend shies away from tofu, which the menu here relies upon. We wondered about replacing this with that or that with this. Our server graciously smiled through it all and then whisked herself away to the kitchen to ask what our options were. Turns out they were very accommodating. Eventually, my friend made it easy and chose the Vegetable Hash with peppers, potatoes, zucchini and black beans – no tofu in sight. I, myself, will eat almost anything, or so I thought. I wanted the Smoked Tofu Benny. I was intrigued by the smoky eggplant “bacon” and the avocado cashew crème “hollandaise”, but the benny came atop a caraway biscuit. Due to an unfortunate caraway incident in childhood, it is one of the very few edibles that even the mention of makes me queasy. Again, the kitchen was very obliging and replaced the biscuit with slices of their homemade sourdough bread, fresh out of the oven no less.

We were right to ask for exactly what we wanted because, in the end, we were happy.

3980 Fraser Street
Brunch hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.